BY NATE HAKEN AND PATRICIA TAFT*
To the southeast of Nigeria, the coastal state of Cross River is home to approximately 2.9 million people (2006 census), predominantly of Efik, Ejagham and Bekwarra background. One of the fastest growing states in Nigeria, Cross River is endowed with vast mineral resources, plentiful arable land, and a growing number of tourist attractions.
Liyel Imoke, of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), was elected governor of Cross River in August 2008 after his first electoral victory of April 2007 was annulled by an Election Appeal Tribunal. He was re-elected in February 2012. Benedict Ayade (PDP) won the 2015 gubernatorial election in April.
For years, Cross River was the stage to a heated territorial dispute between Nigeria and Cameroon over the oil-rich Bakassi peninsula. After a controversial UN-backed ICJ verdict in 2002 and a comprehensive resolution between the two nations in 2006, Abuja began to transfer authority of the peninsula to Yaoundé, and Cameroon eventually took full sovereignty of Bakassi in August 2013.
Otherwise, after two relatively peaceful years in 2010-2011, Cross River saw an increase in violence in 2012-2013, with two notable peaks in the first half of 2012 and first half of 2013. Overall, 47 violent incidents were reported that led to the deaths of over 170 people, particularly around the capital city of Calabar to the south and in the Yakurr, Ogoja and Abi Local Government areas (LGAs). While the nature of violence in the capital varies, land competition and communal clashes remain the primary causes of fatalities in LGAs outside of Calabar according to the data.
This Conflict Bulletin provides a brief snapshot of the trends and patterns of conflict risk factors at the State and LGA levels, drawing on the data available on the P4P Digital Platform for Multi-Stakeholder Engagement (www.p4p-nigerdelta.org). It represents a compilation of the data from sources listed below, not necessarily opinions of FFP or any other organization that collaborated on the production of this bulletin.
The summaries draw on data collected by FFP’s UNLocK, the Council on Foreign Relations’ NST, WANEP Nigeria, CSS/ETH Zurich, NEEWS/TMG, Nigeria Watch, and ACLED integrated on the P4P platform. They also draw on data and information from “Violence in Nigeria: Patterns and Trends,” by Patricia Taft and Nate Haken (Springer Press, April 2015).
*Hannah Blyth and Ania Skinner also contributed to this report.